More than a century ago, Carhartt revolutionized the construction of premium workwear with the toughest materials available: denim and brown duck fabric.
Today, Carhartt brings its rugged-as-all-outdoors construction to everything from moisture-wicking T-shirts and arctic-quality outerwear, to socks and hats.
As new generations keep discovering this legendary brand, Carhartt continues setting the standard for comfort and durability both on and off the job.
Hamilton Carhartt was born in 1855 in Macedon Lock, New York. He grew up in southern Michigan and his entrepreneurial style was reflected in the modifying of his last name by adding an extra “t” to ensure he would stand out from other businessmen. He initially established a furnishing business that would continue to drive his ambition to succeed and lead him to create his own products.
With some helpful advice from his first potential buyer, he realized his products had to be different. After talking with a railroad engineer, he created an overall garment specifically for the railroad worker which had never been made before.
Carhartt founded his namesake company in 1889 and began making workwear with a single goal in mind: set a standard of excellence to which all others would aspire. Starting with only four sewing machines and about five employees, the first products manufactured were overalls in duck and denim fabrics.
By traveling from town to town and visiting each railroad division, he was able to establish himself in the overall business. With entrepreneurial vision and determination, Carhartt established a brand that has stood the test of time.
The Great Depression had a devastating effect on Carhartt resulting in only three plants remaining in the U.S. after 1930. Carhartt and his son, Wylie, established the “Back to the Land” campaign, leading to the joint opening of the Irvine, Kentucky, operations with the townspeople of Irvine. Carhartt’s manufacturing administrative offices are still located in Irvine today.
Carhartt grew throughout the early 1900s, establishing more than 17 plants and three mills throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. “From the mill to millions” was its motto and reflected in its operations, which included cotton production, denim mills and apparel manufacturing facilities.
Carhartt master cloth was designed and woven especially by its mills for use in Carhartt garments and was pledged to be the best cloth that could be produced.
Hamilton Carhartt passed away in 1937 at the age of 82. Today, his company remains a family-owned operation committed to the mission of providing best-in-class apparel for the active worker.
“I believe that when a man wears an article that I manufacture, his self-respect is increased because he knows that it is made by an honest manufacturer who is honest with his employees,” Carhartt said.
Dress for summer with Carhartt
Men’s K87 T-shirt gives you room to move
Carhartt’s pocket T-shirt debuted in 1992, and its rugged cotton design and clean looks made it a fast favorite among the hard-working folks who pulled it on.
Though decades and trends have come and gone, there’s a reason the K87 remains a classic.
This men’s T-shirt is made with heavyweight cotton built to handle tough days on the job. It has an original fit that gives you room to move and a soft feel that only gets better with time. The rib-knit crewneck holds its shape throughout the workday. Side-seam construction minimizes twisting. Left-chest pocket features a sewn-on Carhartt patch and the tagless neck label for a smooth feel.
Men’s cargo shorts that are lightweight, flexible and built to last
These men’s shorts give you the freedom to move through your workday or while doing yard work on the weekend. They’re made of lightweight stretch canvas that is soft, yet durable. One of the cargo pockets has a cell phone compartment, and the other features a utility pocket.
Rylee’s Ace Hardware, 1234 Michigan St. NE in Grand Rapids, is open 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday. Visit ryleesace.com to learn more.